Do We Have to Get 3 Bids?

This is the most common question about purchasing during an emergency.

Short answer:           

Yes.  Purchasing processes do not change for emergencies.

Longer answer:

If, however, for very good reasons and despite your best efforts, there are times when you cannot comply with every detail of the purchasing policy and still meet urgent beneficiary needs, document the situation and communicate it to those in authority by email or phone (before taking action).

According to the CRS Core Procurement Manual it is possible to proceed with sole sourcing when there are one of the following conditions: 1) acute emergency conditions exist and there is just not enough time to obtain additional quotes to compare; 2) there are limited providers in the market and only one provider is available for the good or service in the local market; or 3) it is a restricted market and there is only one provider that is allowed to provide the good or service according to local authorities. Whenever one of these conditions are met then procuring staff can request sole source authorization via the The Sole-Source Authorization Form (SAF) and with CR or delegate approval.

Remember that for purchases over $5,000 your communication must include HQ purchasing (unless you have received a temporary waiver of the local purchase approval requirement for the current period).

Simply write down an explanation of the situation – in email or just on paper.  Then list what you are choosing to do and why, and with whom you are discussing it (and the dates).   Then get the approval (in writing) of the approval authority.

Finally, put your notes and printed emails regarding the discussion in the Purchasing File where we can find them again.  People who pick up the file later on (e.g. donors or auditors) will be able to understand from the file what went on (and, based on what they read there, agree with your brilliant reasoning).